Scientists question modern methods of agriculture
Science Magazine has an interesting article outlining the way in which modern agricultural practices may have increased productivity, but at the exspense of the health of the soil, water, and humans. We all know the horror storiess of factory faming with animals caged and standing in their own excrement and given antibiotics to prevent infection and increase growth. We know that acres and acres of one crop farming with chemical fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides depletes the soil, contanimates the water and reduces the nutrients in the crop.
In an interview, the lead author, Washington State University professor John Reganold said, "If mainstream, conventional farming systems were sustainable, then we would not have overdrawn aquifers, eroded and degraded soils and polluted surface and ground waters." We also have concerns with farm labor working conditions and animal welfare," Reganold added.
With those concerns in mind, some farms have striven to innovate, cultivating practices such as organic farming, conservation agriculture and grass-fed and other alternative livestock production. Some of these practices aren't abstract or new, of course, none are yet widespread.
Yet when we plant our backyard gardens we can do our part to use compost, till in cover crops, vary the planting in rows and use organic fertilizer and pesticides. Our food will be safer and tastier!
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Posted by Marilyn Renaker at May 19, 2011 7:29 AM